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Future leaders gain credentials, scientists earn awards, University Heart sets 'Gold' standard

Published on Thursday, August 25, 2016

Published on August 25, 2016

Grenada, Lexington graduate 14 leaders; Millsaps business program enrolls eight faculty; University Heart earns Joint Commission's top marks; a physiologist garners AHA hypertension council acclaim; and Ph.D. student's poster commands microbiology world's attention.     

Program graduates Lexington, Grenada leaders

Cohort 1 and cohort 2 graduates of the UMMC Leadership Program pause for a program shortly after receiving their diplomas during a ceremony Aug. 12 at UMMC Grenada.

Graduates attending the ceremony are, from left, Karen McLemore, Lucretia Gillon, January Gadsden, Helena Woods, Lyrinda Welch, Cristy S. Seibel, Mandy Suber, Claudette Hathcock, Danny Cain, Paula Pepper, Edward Holman and David McGregory. Graduates unable to attend include Lakessha A. Head and Elizabeth E. Adcock.

The 12-month development program for UMMC staff who display leadership skills, knowledge and upward mobility includes multiple workshops facilitated by subject-matter experts and UMMC leaders. It includes an array of courses to enhance essential workplace skills and knowledge and support organizational and individual performance goals with a focus on the Medical Center's strategic plan.

Cohort 1 students completed the program by the end of 2015 and Cohort 2 students finished the program in July. The Grenada and Lexington students participated in each workshop by remote connection.

The third cohort of the leadership program is scheduled to begin in the fall. For more information, email Paula Shelton at



Faculty leaders to take 'Business Advantage' of Millsaps

Current and aspiring faculty leaders scheduled to attend the Millsaps College Business Advantage Program for Professionals this fall include, from left, Dr. Ravi Chandran, Dr. Maria Cabral, Dr. Chameka Robinson, Dr. Vanetta Levesque, Dr. Mobolaji Famuyide, Dr. Loretta Jackson and Dr. Leslie McKenzie. Dr. Hartmut Uschmann also will be participating in the program.

The Office of Faculty Affairs in conjunction with a Hearin Foundation Grant funds eight faculty scholarships annually. Faculty are selected from a pool of nominees to participate in the program, which runs from August to December.

The program is a certificate course taught by nationally recognized Millsaps College M.B.A. program professors. It gives working professionals comprehensive exposure to essential business topics.

Faculty nominations are requested each spring from school deans and School of Medicine chairs. For more information about the nomination process, email Vickie Skinner at



University Heart's VAD program earns 'gold' distinction


University Heart has earned The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval for disease-specific certification of its ventricular assist device (VAD) program.

VAD therapy provides long-term cardiac support for patients whose hearts are too damaged or diseased to provide adequate circulation to the body's tissues. Heart valve services are part of the mission of University Heart, a diagnostic and treatment facility that offers patients a full scope of heart care services under one roof.

While UMMC has implanted many ventricular assist devices, the significance of the Joint Commission certification is that it broadens potential patients who might be eligible for VAD therapy. This support, also known as “destination therapy,” will allow UMMC to offer many more advanced heart failure patients an alternative for end-stage cardiac disease who are not candidates for heart transplantation.

"This helps sustain someone's life who will unlikely be able to have a heart transplant,” said Tom Wills, executive director of University Heart. “It allows us to treat more patients who would not typically be treated here.”

The UMMC VAD program underwent a rigorous on-site review by an expert Joint Commission reviewer who evaluated it for compliance with the requirements for The Joint Commission's disease-specific care certification program as well as ventricular assist device destination therapy-specific standards.

UMMC first performed the VAD procedure in 2010. Seven devices have been implanted since January 2016, and Wills said the VAD volume is anticipated to double with the certification.



AHA council taps physiologist for hypertension award

Portrait of Dr. Alejandro Chade

Dr. Alejandro Chade, professor of physiology and biophysics, has been named the recipient of the 2016 Hypertension Mid-Career Award for Research Excellence by the American Heart Association's Council on Hypertension.

The award recognizes a scientist in the field of hypertension and cardiovascular research who has substantially contributed to the understanding of the causes of these conditions.

Chade's research interests include the mechanisms of renal injury in chronic renovascular disease and the role of renal microcirculation in the progression of renal injury and the outcomes in response to treatment.

As part of the honor, Chade will present a lecture and receive the award at the AHA's Hypertension Scientific Sessions next month in Orlando, Florida.



Ph.D. student receives microbiology travel award

Angela (Hollis) Benton, a third-year Ph.D. student in microbiology and immunology, received a travel award to present her research at the American Society for Microbiology Conference on Streptococcal Genetics in Washington, D.C. this August.

Her poster is entitled “Pneumococcal Genes Indicated for Fitness in the Vitreous Humor.”

Benton is a student in the laboratory of Dr. Mary Marquart, associate professor of microbiology and immunology.